Writing Children's Books

WRIT S4313
3 points
Session I: May 26 - July 2
M, W 5:30 - 7:40 pm
Instructor: Peter Catalanotto
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There are many misconceptions as to what makes an appealing story for children and how to get it published. Many novice writers are simply relating an incident as opposed to creating a story. In this course, Students will attain a thorough understanding of what is necessary to create a children’s book manuscript ready for submission to publishing houses and agents.

Beginning and experienced writers will learn how to mine their lives and imaginations for ideas and how to develop those ideas into children’s stories—a step by step process from inspiration to finished manuscript for picture books, early readers, emerging readers and chapter books. Through examining books that the students loved as children they will gain an understanding to create a timeless story that will resonate with children generation after generation. Students will also learn the importance of reading their writing out loud—a process that helps both reader and listener develop a better ear for the story’s pace, cadence and structure. This course will emphasize the power of brevity in children’s stories. Writing for children has become incredibly popular in the past fifteen years and publishing houses have been inundated with manuscripts. Many houses have ceased accepting unsolicited manuscripts all together. This course will disclose other avenues to getting your manuscript into the hands of agents and editors.

Each student will need a writer’s notebook or journal, writing implements and a children’s book that she or he loved as a child.

Tuition & Fees
For information on tuition and course fees, please refer to our Tuition & Fees page.

Materials Fee: $20
For questions about School of the Arts course content, please write to our summer team at soasummer@columbia.edu. For all other Summer Program questions, including admissions, registration, and billing, please contact the School of Continuing Education summer team at ce-info@columbia.edu, or 212-854-9666.

About the Instructor


Peter Catalanotto

Peter Catalanotto graduated with a BFA from Pratt Institute. He has written and/or illustrated forty-four books for children, including Ivan the Terrier, Matthew A.B.C., Question Boy Meets Little Miss Know-it-All, Monkey & Robot and Emily’s Art, of which School Library Journal  wrote in a starred review, "this heartfelt book is a masterpiece." more
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Columbia University School of the Arts offers MFA degrees in Film, Theatre, Visual Arts, and Writing, an MA degree in Film Studies, a joint JD/MFA degree in Theatre Management & Producing, a PhD degree in Theatre History, Literature, and Theory, and an interdisciplinary program in Sound Arts.